Today, we review the ddHiFi Janus3, which is a 3rd generation single 10mm dynamic driver in-ear monitor with an interchangeable jack cable. It is priced at $129.99 SRP.
Disclaimer: This is a sample that was sent to us in exchange for our honest opinion. Headfonics is an independent website with no affiliate links. Many thanks to ddHiFi for their support
You can read about previous ddHiFi products we have previously featured on Headfonics here.
Note, that this article follows our latest scoring guidelines which you can read up on here.
ddHiFi Janus3 Review
The ddHiFi Janus3 is a uniquely built “bullet” style pair of IEMs tuned in a relaxing and inoffensive manner, with the vocal performance, comfort, and imaging performance being standouts. It is not a perfectly neutral IEM, but rather one that emphasizes vocal emotion.
ddHiFi is somewhat of an ‘indie brand’ to date but hardcore portable-focused audiophiles have come to associate ddHiFi for their extremely high-quality adapters, and cables such as the M120B. They also have a vast array of dongles DACs such as the TC44C.
Not many audiophiles may be aware of this, but ddHiFi has also been steadily releasing its line of IEM including the Janus and Janus2.
Now in its third iteration, the Janus3 is a unique single DD collaboration IEM between ddHiFi and Moondrop, the legendary Chi-Fi IEM manufacturer.
At this $129 price point, can this unique marriage of ddHiFi’s boutique accessory experience and Moondrop’s legendary tuning experience result in a product encompassing the best that both brands have to offer?
The ddHiFi Janus3 is a universal in-ear monitor featuring a single 10mm ultra-low distortion dynamic driver.
This driver is equipped with a lithium magnesium alloy dome composite diaphragm and is rated with an impedance of 14Ω ± 15% (@1kHz) with a sensitivity level of 122dB/Vrms (@1kHz) so easy enough to drive from a portable setup.
These IEMs are the result of a unique collaboration with Moondrop, highlighting a rare inter-manufacturer partnership, leveraging Moondrop’s experience in tuning IEMs.
Additionally, the Janus3 provides versatility with its 1.2m cable, which includes interchangeable 3.5mm and 4.4mm plugs. This design allows for seamless compatibility with various audio sources, catering to a wide range of user preferences and setups.
The Janus3 has a unique retro-futuristic design philosophy, with a transparent blue shell that reveals the internal components.
The shape of the shell is somewhat unconventional when compared to most Chi-Fi IEMs within the price range. The Janus3 makes use of a “piston” or “bullet” type shape, as it can be worn as either a simple earbud or a classic IEM with the wire over the ear.
Because of this unique shape and design, I can’t assess the design characteristics in the same manner I’ve reviewed previous universal style Chi-Fi IEMS wherein I separately assess the faceplate and body.
The Janus3 makes use of a separate front chamber and rear chamber. The front chamber is constructed from CNC-machined aluminum with a smooth finish, giving it a premium feel.
The rear chamber is constructed out of high-quality plastic material, giving it its transparent blue appearance, and showing off the wire connecting the MMCX port to the single Dynamic driver.
Both front and rear chambers have exposed vents, with the one on the front metallic shell being barely noticeable above the nozzle, and the vent on the rear chamber being one of the stand-out design aspects of the unit.
Comfort & Isolation
The Janus3 is a lightweight and comfortable IEM, due in no small part to its unique piston-shaped design, and its comparatively small size.
Initially, I was worried that my familiarity with ergonomic universal-style IEMs such as the Moondrop Blessing 3 and Kiwi Ears Quartet would make the Janus3 feel uncomfortable in comparison, however, it was almost the exact opposite.
Its minuscule size made them easy to wear throughout the whole day without me realizing they were in my ear, a feat only the Open Audio Witch Pro was able to achieve thus far. I would still give the Witch Pro the edge in terms of comfort, but the Janus3 is quite close.
I must highlight that my preference for this “piston” type design over a larger ergonomic style may be subjective. I would personally prefer having my IEMs have a comparatively longer overhang instead of having the IEM shell touch the outer portion of my ear.
An additional benefit of the dual chamber metal and plastic design is the natural weight distribution of the IEMs. Since the heavier metal shell is towards the front of the IEM, the center of gravity of each shell naturally pushes the IEM towards the ear canal, making insertion and finding a good seal a breeze.
The isolation performance of the IEMs is quite sub-par. I would presume that this is a result of not only the double-vented design but also the fact that the top vent on the rear plastic shell is much larger than any vents I’ve seen on most IEMs.
The stock cable of the Janus3 is a shielded OCC cable with MMCX connectors on one end, and interchangeable terminations on the other end. The cable is flexible and soft, and “rope-like”, but also thin and tangle-prone. The cable has a transparent sheath, which matches the aesthetic of the IEM.
The cable also features interchangeable 3.5mm and 4.4mm plugs, which are easy to swap and offer versatile connectivity options. The plugs are made of CNC aluminum alloy, which is durable and elegant. It is worth noting however that this cable does not come with an adjustable Y splitter.
Throughout my mixed stationary and on-the-go listening, I observed no audible microphonics with the stock cable.
Despite the occasional tangling issues, this was the best stock cable I’ve used. This is to be expected since ddHiFi’s main competencies stem from manufacturing accessories such as cables, cases, and dongles.
Packaging & Accessories
The Janus3 comes in a simple, classy beige box, with the JANUS name plastered in front. The box also has a QR code, which can be scanned to access the user manual and warranty information.
I found it quite amusing that in line with this IEM being a “low-key Moondrop Collaboration”, the rear portion of the removable front cardboard shell displays artwork of an anime waifu, acknowledging their intention of showing off their Moondrop Heritage in a subtle manner.
Inside the box, there is a hard-shell case, which contains the IEM, the cable, the interchangeable plugs, and three pairs of silicone tips. The case is sturdy and compact and has a magnetic closure. The accessories are minimal but sufficient, and the quality is good.
The bass is tight and controlled, with a good impact and extension. The sub-bass is present and visceral, but not overwhelming or muddy as compared to most V-shaped IEMs within the price range. The mid-bass is a bit lacking for my taste.
This emphasis on the sub-bass over the mid-bass makes modern pop music comparatively less engaging. The bass is well integrated with the rest of the frequency spectrum and does not bleed into the midrange.
In complicated acoustic arrangements, bass drum hits are articulated with deep authority and decisiveness, while strums from bass guitars leave something to be desired.
It is worth noting that with my music library, I’ve tended to gravitate toward IEMs that have a warm emphasis on the bass guitar. For most people, the bass guitar tonality may be satisfactory.
The bass of the Janus3 is not a bass-head’s IEM, but it still provides enough punch and warmth for most listeners. Instead of focusing on delivering skull-shattering bass, the Janus focuses on delivering clean bass that compliments the rest of the frequency response.
The midrange is where the Janus stood out to me. The mids are articulated with good detail and resolution, whilst also emphasizing female vocals. This emphasis on vocals gave acoustic ballads a euphoric and relaxing feel.
Additionally, individual strums from acoustic guitars and individual piano keys were well articulated and played back with good texture and nuance. I found that the Janus worked best in large arrangements composed of live instrumental recordings.
The upper mids are presented with good air and resolution. Percussive wind instruments were played back with good articulation, and female vocals were presented with very good energy and contributed to a very exciting sound signature.
The midrange of the Janus3 is not too forward or laid-back, but it does emphasize vocals without sacrificing the overall tonal balance of the frequency response.
The treble on the Janus3 is quite laid back, without sacrificing much clarity or articulation in the process. I never observed any sibilance throughout my testing, however, I also noticed that the Janus3 was less energetic on the high end compared to other IEMs in the price range.
Despite this, hi-hats cymbals are played back with very good clarity and decay. The impressive decay performance further highlights the strike patterns and techniques of the drummers even in complex arrangements.
For my taste, I never found the treble lacking. But I would still consider it to be relaxed and non-fatiguing.
The imaging of the Janus3 is impressive, especially for an IEM at this price point. The soundstage is not very wide or deep, but it is well-defined.
The instrument separation and layering are good, and the positioning and directionality are accurate. The Janus3 creates an engaging and immersive listening experience, with a good sense of realism and coherence.